Dressing Up

Falleras, 2014

Falleras, 2014

My mom has a big old trunk full of costumes and dress-ups at her house, and for many of her grandchildren it has been the source of much pleasure over the years. Not everyone is so fortunate, and may be limited in their dressing-up opportunities. This is not a problem for Valencians–they know how to dress up, and they do it with class.

A neighborhood ceremony in the old city

A neighborhood ceremony in the old city

In various places on the web I’ve seen the typical clothing worn during las Fallas described as medieval. I guess that’s a cautionary tale about the need for internet skepticism. I’m not a fashion historian, but such an assessment is several centuries off. The dresses worn by the women are generally 18th century styles. There may be more of a range in the men’s clothing, with some folks looking aristocratic and some leaning toward the peasant-smock end of the spectrum, but whichever it is, it seems to fall in the same time period.

falleritas 3Regardless of where the clothing is located on a historical timeline, this time of year it has been located on many hundreds of people, at any time of day or night over more than a week, and all over the city, not just in official parades. We’ve seen families all dressed up, with costumed parents pushing their costumed kids in strollers lined with matching brocade. And we’ve seen the hybrid falleras who have changed from their lovely dresses into jeans and hoodies, but with the classic elaborate coiffures and hair adornments (Adreç in Valencian) still meticulously in place. I imagine there’s enough hairspray involved to make them nearly invulnerable.falleritas 1

Costumes make everything more fun!

(All photos here taken by El Guapo. Here is a link to some great photos of young Valencians in costume that I really enjoyed.)

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3 thoughts on “Dressing Up

  1. Nice to hear that you enjoyed Fallas so much! 🙂 It’s always nice to know how people who’s not acquainted with these festivities see the city and festivals we carry here.

    I’ve been dressing as a fallera for almost 15 years now, and I’m so proud of how the costume depicts an era and the culture in this mediterranean city! I recently wrote a post on my blog about the silks and fabrics used to make the intricate fallera costumes too, so, I’ll leave the link in case you want to take a look at it:
    http://bit.ly/2ociUom

    Best,
    Amanda

    • Thanks so much for commenting, and for sharing the link! Your post is fantastic, and the pictures are extraordinary. The beautiful fallera costumes are one of my favorite parts of the whole festival.
      I often wonder about the details connected with the traditions, like how long it takes to have someone do your hair in that distinctive style, and how much it costs to get the whole outfit dry cleaned. Also, the shoes are beautiful, but they don’t look like they’d be very comfortable for a long walk in a parade….

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